Work has started as part of a £15 million upgrade project to improve passenger facilities at George Best Belfast City airport.

An upgrade of the departure lounge is included, incorporating shops and food and drink offerings.

The first phase of the project which involves demolition and preparation of areas for the new retail fit-out.

Retail space will be expanded by a third, with larger World Duty Free and WH Smith shops.

Food and beverage facilities will be expanded by 25%, with more choice for passengers along with partner HMS Host, which operates existing facilities including the Bushmills Bar.

Seating will be more than doubled together with airside washroom facilities, which will also be fully refurbished.

The project will be contained within the current terminal building and is due to be completed by October.

Airport capital projects and engineering manager Chris Horner said: “Continually enhancing the overall passenger journey for our passengers is a major objective for Belfast City Airport and our £15 million investment programme will be a key factor in delivering on this commitment.

“Completing the preparation of the existing areas for work to begin on the refurbishment of the retail areas is a significant milestone in the project and we look forward to work progressing further as the new terminal reconfiguration takes shape.”